It’s been -14 degrees in Rochford today. But that’s in the settlement of Rochford, South Dakota, USA.
Like a lot of America , they are suffering extremely cold conditions at the moment. . The coldest weather for two decades. But we hope all the people in our namesake town are OK.
Essex Police have the following on their website:
Essex Police are asking people to call 101 to report any issues unless it is a genuine emergency whilst the county is subject to high winds and rain over the next 15 hours.
Current forecasts suggest that the strongest winds are likely to hit Essex between midnight and 6am on Christmas Eve with the possibility that trees may be blown down and some damage could be caused to buildings.
Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet, of Essex Police, said: “We would advise people not to travel unless absolutely necessary until the winds have lessened and to take appropriate steps to secure their homes and property against the weather.
There is a potential for trees and power lines to come down as a result of the wind and for flying debris to be a danger at the peak of the storm. If possible, people should stay inside until the worst of the weather has passed.
“If someone is in a situation where life is threatened or there is a genuine emergency then people should call 999 but to allow police to deal with the most vital calls we would ask members of the public to call 101 in less extreme circumstances.”
Mr Prophet said that a number of local authorities also ran on-line reporting services for fallen trees and there were also other contact numbers which could be used.
Any issues with the roads run by Essex County Council can be reported to its Highways department on 0845 603 7631. If there are issues with fallen trees which are not affecting the road network in the county council area they can call 0845 606 7624. In Southend Borough Council’s area people can report fallen trees on 01702 215011 and in the Thurrock area they can call 01375 652955, in office hours, and 01375 372468 outside of that.
The Health Service is also advising people to use its non-urgent 111 number for health queries.
Mr Prophet said police were also urging drivers to take care if using any Essex roads that might be affected by flooding or blocked by debris.
They should drive appropriately to the conditions, and take especial care on tree-lined roads with blind bends.
If motorists come across flooding on the roads they should consider the following:
If you come across a flooded road, you should only attempt to drive through if you are certain that it is not too deep
Many cars will start to float in as little as 12 inches of water. This can be extremely dangerous; as the wheels lose grip, and you will lose control – with the obvious risks and consequences.
The engine air intake on many cars is low down at the front of the car; just an egg cupful of water ingested into the combustion chamber is sufficient to destroy an engine.
Only drive through flood water if you know it’s not too deep. This will be no deeper than the lowest part of the vehicle’s bodywork.
With standing water, physically test the depth of the water with a pole (wade in, if necessary, but only where it is safe to do so), or observe the depth against other vehicles that cross successfully.
But just because they are successful does not mean it is appropriate to follow.
If in doubt….don’t!
If you have to drive through water, select a low gear so the engine revs are higher, slipping the clutch if necessary or, for an automatic vehicle, select the lowest ratio and balance the throttle and brakes.
Before entering, consider other drivers – pass through flooded sections one car at a time, don’t drive through water against approaching fording vehicles.
Drive slowly and steadily to avoid creating a large bow wave.
Test your brakes as soon as you leave the water.
If you get stuck, firstly, ensure the safety of all involved, including other road users. Do not repeatedly try to start the engine, (this may cause further damage). Call for recovery and wait in a safe place.
Police are also advising motorists to avoid the M25 and associated roads in the Thurrock area following the closure of the QEII Bridge since lunchtime.
It is likely to remain closed until at least 4am on Tuesday, December 24, although the Highways Agency will review these times depending on the conditions.
The tunnels will remain open to help maintain the flow of traffic, but congestion is expected so drivers are advised to seek alternative routes and if possible to avoid the Thurrock and Dartford areas of Essex and Kent.
There are gale warnings around nearly all of the British coast – with” perhaps hurricane force 12″ in the Thames shipping area.
(bear in mind this is the area of sea near the Thames . not the river itself)
Spare a thought for the seafarers on those tankers that bring in diesel for our cars, the container ships that bring in clothing for our shops, the bulk carriers that bring in stone and rock salt for our roads, those ships that take grain to other countries….
There’s bad weather forecast for the UK towards the end of next week. Although it doesn’t look too dreadful for our area. The BBC weather page suggests we’ll only get some light snow (on Thursday) and that next Saturday and Sunday nights will be pretty cold (about -4 Celsius)
Anyway, the District Council website has some advice about dealing with snow , ice and cold weather.
The same webpage explains what the County and District Council aim to do:
The County Council has to focus gritting resources on major roads. Except for exceptional circumstances it does not treat minor roads and residential areas, areas that are not part of the public highway – such as car parks and parks, footways and cycle tracks. High use footways will be identified for treatment when covered with heavy snow, if resources permit.
Rochford District Council have plans in place to prioritise its areas of responsibility, during periods of heavy snow and severe winter conditions SITA staff will be diverted from their normal duties to assist in salting or snow clearance operations. In the event that the refuse service is suspended, additional staff will be redeployed.
The Council will endeavour in order of priority using staff employed by our contractors to spread grit salt at various Sheltered Housing Scheme Units, at all entrances, exits and roadways at the Council’s cemeteries, at all entrances and exits to the Council’s parks and open spaces, where access is urgently needed (i.e. where Pavilions are used by play groups), at all entrances and exits and around the ticket machines in the Council’s Pay & Display car parks, and on the access paths to all of the Council’s Public conveniences.
It is unrealistic to specify response and completion times, as these would vary according to the severity of the snowfall or ice and the availability of staff.
Contrary to popular myth, there is no law stopping you from taking action to clear your local pavements and pathways, providing that you take a careful and common sense approach. When clearing snow and ice make sure you are not putting yourself or anyone else at risk, and do not use water under any circumstances as it may replace snow with dangerous black ice.
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